Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tort Man Pla - Thai Style Fish Cakes

I like fish cakes.  After a trip to Thailand a couple of years ago, I'm actually a bit obsessed.

Following is my favorite recipe.  I started out with the one in David Thompson's Thai Food and changed it until they tasted like what I had in Bangkok.  I highly recommend the book if you're interested in the food of Thailand beyond pad thai.  Some of the ingredients are a little obscure but most of the recipes you can build at one of the local asian markets.

Tort Man Pla

12 oz white fish fillets (rockfish, catfish, cod, etc...), coarsely diced
1 T red or green curry paste
1 egg
1 shy T fish sauce
1 t sugar
3 kaffir lime leaves, center ribs removed and finely sliced
3/4 c yard-long beans, cut into 1/4" rounds
2 thai chilies, sliced thinly into rounds
oil for frying

In the bowl of a food processor, place the fish, curry, egg, fish sauce, and sugar.  Pulse until you achieve a rough paste.  Transfer to a bowl and mix vigorously until the paste becomes sticky.  Trust me, this is important!  You're agitating the proteins to help them bind, and adding air so the cakes are puffy after frying.  Fold in the lime leaves, chilies and beans.  Form into 2" round cakes, about 1/3" thick, and fry immediately.  As soon as you take them out of the oil, blot dry and eat right away.  They get tough if allowed to cool.  I like to serve them with lime wedges and fish sauce laced with chilies.

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